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While burglary is every homeowners nightmare and the risk of it has created a huge industry of burglary prevention equipment, new research from Mintel highlights that the most basic preventative measures are being ignored. Indeed, while the market is set to hit £100 million for the first time in 2010, as many as a quarter of Brits fail to take the simple security measure of checking their doors and windows before leaving home.

Today, less than one in two of us (46%) has taken on board security measures such as installing extra window and door locks. Meanwhile, door chains and spy holes (35%) and external security lights are present in just a third (34%) of households.

Even more incredibly, despite being aware of the risk of burglary, just three quarters of adults are careful about locking up when they leave their home. Some 66% of Brits claim to live in an area where there is a medium to low risk of burglary and 18% believe they live in a medium to high risk area. However, as many as a quarter (26%) of all Brits fail to check their doors and windows when they leave home, rising to a staggering 34% of those living in a high risk area.

Worth £98 million in 2009, by the end of the year the market for burglary prevention equipment will be worth an estimated £100 million and Mintel forecasts further growth of 12% by 2015, when the market is set to reach £112 million. Spending is currently dominated by intruder alarms at £59 million, which enjoy higher average prices than much of the other equipment in the marketplace. Consumers spend £39 million on extra door and window security hardware.

Jane Westgarth, Senior Retail Analyst at Mintel, said:

” consumer caution pays off, as there is a far lower risk of burglary for those homes that take sensible steps to improve their security. Yet despite high awareness of risk of burglaries, our research finds that no one type of burglary prevention equipment is owned by more than half of the population, illustrating the untapped potential in the home security market as a whole. As the economy recovers and the housing market picks up, spending on home security products is likely to benefit. The ageing population, the rise in the number of people living in flats, the increased affordability of electronic equipment, and the increasing use of remote items that do not require wiring into a home are all positive signs for development. “

Almost 12 million consumers (23%) feel that a visible burglar alarm is a deterrent, believing that in the mindset of a burglar, an easy target that appears unprotected will be easier to break into than an alarmed home. However, it seems there is a gender divide when it comes to how reliable a deterrent they are. Men (27%) are more inclined than women (19%) to believe that having a visible alarm acts as a good deterrent.

And finally, while burglary prevention may not be top of consumers’ minds, it seems that Brits are more savvy when it comes to fire safety. The market for fire and carbon monoxide alarms and fire prevention equipment is valued at £21 million and today as many as nine in ten (91%) Brits own a smoke alarm. Worryingly however, only half (51%) regularly check that it is working, illustrating that many people forget about the equipment once they have installed it and could be over-reliant in assuming that the equipment works.